The Business Owner’s Tool Bag
From my monthly column in the Kitsap Business Journal…
When I think about tools, I am one of those unusual guys who don’t think of fixing things. I’m not a “tool guy.” I carry 14 “tools” in my bag… my golf bag. I equate this to business. Toolboxes are for fixing things. I believe business owners need to make things happen, just like on a golf course. And, like in the game of golf, sometimes when you try to make things happen, bad things are bound to occur. I have tools for those situations, too! For this special section on “Tools for your Business, ” I offer to you a golf bag full of 14 “clubs” that you can immediately use in your business.
1. Self-Confidence. You have to be able to have the self-confidence to be courageous, overcome adversity, persevere, make tough decisions, and lead people. Not everyone is wired that way. It’s the most essential tool for entrepreneurs.
2. A Marketing Plan. Don’t waste your time on a business plan. The problem is that you might hit it. Invest in a strong marketing plan. That’s what will create revenue through new clients.
3. A Killer Website. The Internet is here to stay. More and more people use the Internet to solve their problems, check out credibility, or simply search for a business. If yours is old, outdated, wrong, boring, or looks like your 13-year-old nephew built it, you’ve got a problem. Have a website that you can be proud to have people visit and will prompt people to pick up the phone (or email you) to solve their problems.
4. An In-House Tech Wizard. I just facilitated a strategy session for a client in the insurance industry. The technology guru was the most important person in the room. She received all the praise and adulation from her peers because without her, they can’t do their job. If they can’t do their jobs, no revenue flows in. Technology is too critical to not have a dedicated person ensure your business continuation.
5. A Coach. If you read my column in July, you know that superstars get coached. As a business owner, you need a sounding board, a second opinion, accountability, humility, and education. You won’t get that from your employees or even a peer group. Find a coach who will keep you focused moving forward professionally and personally.
6. A POV. A point of view. A value proposition. How do you improve the lives and conditions of others? Be clear. Be concise. If you don’t know, how will others?
7. Communications Prowess. You don’t have to be the world’s greatest public speaker, but you’d better be able to communicate your vision to your employees, clients, and community. Competence doesn’t automatically ensure competence. The best leaders are the ones who can clearly represent their POV.
8. A Crisis Response Plan. Disaster recovery isn’t the sexiest thing to talk about, however it impacts the most people. Consider your financial future, your employees’ jobs and financial outlook, your supply chain, your investors, and your community. Not knowing exactly what to do in the event of a crisis is negligent.
9. Human Redundancy. Are you prepared for transition of people? Do you have human backups when someone leaves, is terminated, or is even on vacation? If you don’t have a plan, your employees have no clue. Reduce your stress and deal with human redundancy in your business.
10. A Community of Peers. Might be a Mastermind Group; a group of industry peers; or an online professional forum. You need to have a support group; positive thinkers; and smart people to help you solve issues. You also gain value and knowledge by helping them. In this technological world, community has become a more relevant word.
11. A Sense of Humor. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Bad things happen and sometimes you hit it into the woods. How you react will dictate how others around you react.
12. Good Health. Owning a business is a marathon, AND a sprint. If you’re not physically up to the task, you will personally begin to break down physically and mentally. Learn how to eat well, exercise right, and sleep more.
13. A Whack a Mole in your office. Trust me on this one!
14. A Life. If your personal life is “out of whack,” it will seep into your business life. Gain perspective and take care of yourself and your family. Happy business owners are successful business owners.
Golfers don’t hit the links without a full array of clubs (tools) in their bags. You shouldn’t hit the day, the month, or the year of your business without a full set of tools to lead you to success.
Dan Weedin is a Poulsbo-based management consultant, speaker, and mentor. He leads an executive peer-to-peer group in Kitsap County where he helps executives improve personally, professionally, and organizationally by enhancing leadership skills. He is one of only 35 consultants in the world to be accredited as an Alan Weiss Master Mentor. You can reach Dan at 360-697-1058; e-mail at email@example.com or visit his web site at www.DanWeedin.com.
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